Unproven Allegation, Massive Patient Harm
Even though no wrongdoing has been established, 1,600 patients were abruptly deprived of a family doctor.
As Dr Crystal Luchkiw’s disciplinary hearing commences today, it’s worth taking a look at a May 7th press release in which her lawyer, Michael Alexander, provides her side of the story. He’s the person who warned us during a recent speech that “We are losing and we are losing badly.”
Dr Luchkiw’s office was located in a retirement community in Barrie, Ontario - two hours north of Toronto. She served 1,600 patients, many of whom were seniors. At any given time, many of her patients were receiving end-of-life/palliative care.
The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons is a regulatory body whose big picture purpose is to protect the public. But that seems to have been the last thing on the minds of those in charge. Her lawyer’s press release explains that, in late 2021,
a hospital administrator sent a letter to the College in which he alleged that Dr. Luchkiw had written one medical exemption for Covid-19 injections for a patient who had received treatment at the hospital.
Although the patient claimed to have such an exemption, he provided no proof and did not identify the doctor involved. The press release continues:
It was simply assumed that Dr. Luchkiw had provided the exemption because the patient had been receiving medical care in her family practice…the College…alleged before its Complaints Committee that Dr. Luchkiw had been writing medical exemptions; as a result, the Committee suspended her licence on March 17, 2022.
This was done even though no patient complaint had been made and no proof of patient harm had been produced.
There are many valid reasons - including a previous allergic reaction - why a doctor might write such an exemption. Human bodies are not all the same. One size-fits-all-medicine is not medicine. It’s dogma.
When they suspended Dr Luchkiw’s medical license before any wrongdoing on her part had been established all of her patients lost their family doctor. In a province in which an estimated 1.8 million people don’t have one, and in which waiting lists are years long.
How can anyone have considered this a responsible course of action? But I’m afraid it gets worse. Here’s more from the press release:
Once the suspension was registered, the College prevailed on the College of Pharmacists to cancel all prescriptions and refills for Dr. Luchkiw's patients throughout the Ontario health system. It also cancelled pending tests and appointments with specialists for all patients. [italics added by me]
This is extreme cruelty. Sadism. Your elderly parent has lost access to their doctor and has little hope of finding a new one anytime soon. So let’s ramp up their feelings of stress, anxiety, and disorientation. Let’s cancel their prescription refills on top of it all. Oh, and that specialist they’ve been waiting six months to see? Not happening.
I mean, who behaves this way? In what universe is this an acceptable way to treat people? Mr Alexander points to a Fact Sheet on the website of the Ontario College of Pharmacists. It’s important to note that this isn’t legal-binding legislation, passed by democratically elected representatives of the public. Nor is it a formal policy of the College of Pharmacists itself. It’s an online fact sheet. That encourages pharmacists to wield immense, unchecked power over other people’s lives. Below is a screen capture of a portion of that fact sheet.
The bits I’ve highlighted in green tell us that, when a doctor’s license is suspended, prescription refills are at the discretion of the pharmacist and that the pharmacist “is accountable.”
But this is hollow blather, meaningless window dressing. How might an ailing elderly person who has been denied a refill hold an unsypathetic pharmacist accountable? What is the mechanism? None exists.
Please remember. No wrongdoing on the part of Dr Luchkiw has, as yet, been established. But between them, two regulatory bodies that are supposed to be looking out for the public have inflicted irreparable, immeasurable harm on 1,600 innocent people.